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Dizzy With Success: Paul Elam announces triumphant move of AVFM conference to less convenient venue

Quick, look over there!
Quick, look over there!

So A Voice for Men, having lost or abandoned the original venue for their “Men’s Issues” conference in Detroit, has announced its new location: A VFW post some 18 miles away from the original hotel where, presumably, most of the conference’s attendees will be staying.

According to Paul Elam, they made the move in large part to spare conference-goers the terrible inconvenience of having to watch the no-doubt riveting presentations from an “overflow room.”

No, really.

In a post last night, Elam declared that all the media attention given to the conference

has produced is a hell of a lot more interest in the conference, and more ticket sales. So much so, as a matter of fact, that we have opted to move to a venue that will seat more people and provide more security than was available previously.

While we apologize for any inconvenience that the move is going to cause, it is nonetheless a positive move for the conference. Because seating capacity was misrepresented to us at the previous venue, we were forced to plan for an overflow room where we would pipe in live events to a monitor at reduced ticket prices.

With the change of venue we will be able to accommodate all attendees in the same space at the same time.

Naturally, the first thing some critics of Elam did when they saw this announcement was to look up the seating capacity of the largest rooms at both venues. The largest room at the Doubletree Fort Shelby, where the conference was originally scheduled to take place, seats 300, with a maximum capacity of 310. The largest room at the VFW post … also seats 300. Or maybe 350. The VFW website isn’t clear.

In other words, Elam expects us to believe that in order to avoid the inconvenience of having to resort to “overflow rooms,” AVFM moved its convention to a venue 18 miles away from the original hotel that might not even offer rooms any bigger than the original venue.

Meanwhile, in the comments to Elam’s post, one would-be conference attendee reports that the Doubletree has canceled his reservation. If Doubletree has decided to wash its hands of the conference attendees now that they are no longer hosting the conference, and Elam is telling the truth about the number of people planning to attend, this could mean hundreds of people scrambling for hotel rooms.

Still, Elam and his troops are eager to present this as a great victory.

It’s weird. You might think that this sort of reality distortion would be impossible in a democratic country in the internet age. Sure, back in Stalin’s day, the Soviet Union’s propaganda machine could present massive failure as success and get away with it – at least to some degree, at least within their own country.

In the wake of a disastrous program of “forced collectivization” of rural agriculture in 1929-30, which left many peasants dead or imprisoned and paved the way for future famines, Stalin famously announced in an article in Pravda that the program had been so amazingly successful that he needed to call a temporary halt so that everyone could catch their breath. The title of his article: “Dizzy With Success.”

The only way you can get away with bullshit this brazen is if you’re a dictator or the leader of a cult – something that A Voice for Men has increasingly come to resemble. AVFMers are expected not only to accept Elam’s leadership; they’re expected to accept his distinctly non-consensus reality – a world turned upside down in which men are the real victims of domestic violence and rape and pretty much everything else, a world in which the Southern Poverty Law Center is a collection of evil bigots and his motley collection of misogynists is the true human rights movement of the twenty-first century.

Like a lot of cult leaders, Elam keeps his troops too busy to think straight in a continual frenzy of pseudo-activism. AVFMers are forever brigading comment sections of newspaper articles and YouTube videos in little squads (AVFMers almost always travel in packs), all reciting the same few talking points.

Weirdly, the dynamics of internet discussions can actually reinforce this kind of intellectual conformity, much as Stalin’s control of the media did in his day. No, AVFMers can’t avoid being exposed to facts that contradict the shared (un)reality of their ideological bubble.

But in internet discussions you don’t have to be right in order to convince yourself you’ve won an argument. You just have to be loud and persistent and unwilling to ever give in. You don’t have to convince anyone else of your arguments so long as you convince yourself. MRAs don’t win many arguments on their merits, but they manage to convince themselves they win every one.

The trouble is that when they step outside of their regular stomping grounds on the internet, this strategy – so effective in generating ideological conformity amongst cult members – falls completely apart.

We’ve seen several spectacular examples in the past couple of weeks. First, we watched a concert organized by Canadian Men’s Rights group CAFE implode after musicians and sponsors realized what they’d been roped into; the pathetically unconvincing attempts by the group to explain away this failure were amazing to behold.

Then we saw AVFM’s Dean Esmay reduce himself to a caricature on Fox (local) news as he rapidly regurgitated standard AVFM talking points like some sort of fanatical ideological auctioneer, apparently unaware that to everyone outside of the Men’s Rights bubble everything he was saying was obviously utter nonsense.

And now we have Paul Elam trying to convince the world that AVFM changed its venue for its conference because, hey, we needed more room!

The trouble with having your head up your ass most of the time is that when you take it out, people tend to notice the smell.

But, hey, as long as the AVFMers are happy with their new venue, I’m happy for them. Janet Bloomfield, the official “social media director” for the conference, posted this triumphant tweet lat night:

https://twitter.com/JudgyBitch1/status/476822883881459712

She has assured me that this is an actual quote. The “Wayne State cunts” remark is apparently a reference to the Wayne State sociology professor who, er, debated AVFM’s Dean Esmay on the local Fox affiliate the other day. Esmay has also posted a slightly shorter version of the same quote in the AVFM comments section.

So, yes, both the official PR representative for the conference and AVFM’s “managing editor” both apparently think it’s a great idea to refer to women who disagree with them as “cunts.”

Oh, and Bloomfield also thinks it’s hilarious to joke about Elam scamming his supporters of the $29,000 raised for additional security:

https://twitter.com/BhasChat/status/476907717194702848

You can’t buy this kind of publicity, largely because as far as I know there are no PR firms that offer organizations help in destroying the last tiny shreds of their credibility.

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Lea
Lea
7 years ago

I’m just a fluffy unicorn baby.

Even if that were so, who the fuck slaps around a fluffy unicorn baby?

Ally S
7 years ago

How much rent do MRAs owe all you Manboobzers for the space we take up in your febrile brains?

That’s a pretty bland insult.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

How much rent do MRAs owe all you Manboobzers for the space we take up in your febrile brains?

Shh, the grown ups are talking. Go play with something shiny.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
7 years ago

Malcolm, since when do activists complain about how much attention they’re getting.

But since you asked, about $1000 US/month would do nicely, thanks

Athywren
Athywren
7 years ago

@emilygoddess
…I’m only saying it because I think it’s true. I honestly think that confusion over the usefulness of skepticism is why so many MRAs think they’re skeptics. They set out with their answer, and then try to show, using the tools of skepticism, how right they are, but they forget that they’re only tools. I can use a spade to dig out a patch of my garden so I can grow fruit there, but I have to use it right – I can’t just wave it around my head and expect apples to rain down on me.
I saw that kind of skepticism the first time I was openly exposed to an MRA argument. Some guy set out to debunk that claim about women doing x% of the world’s work and receiving only y% (I forget the numbers) of its wealth. To prove this, he decided to work out how much of America’s total household incomes went to women, because he only needed to show that they got z% of America’s household incomes in order to show they got more than y% of world household incomes. Which was not the original claim. I’ve been seeing that kind of skepticism in the MRM ever since. It’s pretty depressing, to tell you the truth. I once had a conversation with a guy about how women, the LGBTQ community and racial minorities were oppressed… he told me that we shouldn’t take it as axiomatic that women are oppressed – no comment about the other groups, so apparently we should take it as axiomatic that LGBTQ & racial minority groups are oppressed? Personally, I thought we used evidence for those, and evidence for women too, but apparently not. Ramble ramble ramble.
Bad skepticism annoys me.

takshak
takshak
7 years ago

Even if that were so, who the fuck slaps around a fluffy unicorn baby?

I would, if it pooped on my lawn

Athywren
Athywren
7 years ago

@takshak
Well, yeah, obviously, if we know what something is then it stands to reason that we can say that it’s not things that aren’t what we know it is, but I was referring to cases where we don’t have positive knowledge. Obviously we know it’s not true that the moon is made of blue cheese – it’s double gloucester.

LBT (with writeathon poll!)

RE: malcolm johnston

How much rent do MRAs owe all you Manboobzers for the space we take up in your febrile brains?

Shut up, we’re talking about Multi Moon Lady right now.

RE: Lea

I’m sorry people give you a hard time LBT. It just seems so rude to question someone’s very existence. That’s cold.

It’s okay. I mean, my parents have done it and after that, strangers don’t really have much capacity to hurt me about it anymore. Basically, again, they don’t see me as a person, so questioning me or trying to make me magically disappear isn’t at all gross to them. And there’s no way to GAIN that personhood, because they have already decided I’m not a person.

who the fuck slaps around a fluffy unicorn baby?

Every tough guy on the Internet who wants to prove how smart and above it all they are. I actually base a lot of my social presentation on appearing serious and sensible enough not to get taken for a unicorn baby, while also still being believable. It’s a tightrope walk, a lot of the time, but my survival depends on it.

takshak
takshak
7 years ago

heretic! It’s wenslydale!

sorry, but my nerves are a bit raw after dealing with a gundamentalist…

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Malcolm: The answer is not much, really. Unlike you buttnuggets, who would have to get actual lives if you stopped hating everyone.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

I’m sorry LBT.
Here are some hugs for you, if you want them ———-> HUGS!

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

…and now I want some cheese.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
7 years ago

I would, if it pooped on my lawn

As someone who has treated actual victims of animal cruelty, I’d like to respectfully request that you not joke about it.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

You know what we need right now?

takshak
takshak
7 years ago

Lea, I see your unicorns and raise you … shrimp on a treadmill!

Athywren
Athywren
7 years ago
takshak
takshak
7 years ago

Athywren: 2nd amendment fondler Thinks John Lott is a credible source.

Athywren
Athywren
7 years ago

@Lea
So I think I’ve found my new earworm cure… it’ll join the rotation with Nyan Cat & the eternal Rick Astley.
Shut up, he’s awesome.

Athywren
Athywren
7 years ago

I know… I just prefer the idea of a toy robot death machine collector over… death machine collector.

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

I honestly think that confusion over the usefulness of skepticism is why so many MRAs think they’re skeptics. They set out with their answer, and then try to show, using the tools of skepticism, how right they are, but they forget that they’re only tools.

Yes. This.

Real skepticism is letting your conclusions be guided by evidence. Not coming to a conclusion and seeking evidence to confirm it. Or for that matter, ignoring evidence because it doesn’t fit the conclusion.

Confirmation bias =/= skepticism

LBT (with writeathon poll!)

RE: Lea and takshak

…what have I just watched? What is this feeling it is instilling in me?

I THINK THIS IS A SIGN I NEED TO GO TO BED.

(And don’t worry, Lea! It’s okay, I’m far away from my folks now, and they can’t hurt me now. The worst that I get these days is periodic emails like the one today inviting me to Lake Tahoe. Which I’ll totally do, about five minutes after hell freezes over.)

takshak
takshak
7 years ago

I like to keep an eye on the enemy.

He’s also (quelle surprise!) a glibertarian

Woody
Woody
7 years ago

There is an utterly unfounded assumption being made that Paul has “scammed” his followers out of 29K. Not so. They required the money for extra security. Due to feminist harassment, AVFM has now been forced to move venues entirely. This isn’t Paul’s fault. I don’t know what he’ll do with the 29K, but I’m sure it will be put to good use, in his wisdom.

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

Did you read the post Woody? Elam himself claimed to be moving venues because the VFW had more capacity than the Doubletree.

You really are dense.

As the saying goes; a fool and his money are easily parted. It’s no skin off my nose if you idiots want to fund him.

Ally S
7 years ago

Woody also seems to be ignoring the fact that Elam himself has admitted that he uses a lot more of the donations for his own personal expenses than he typically says openly.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

I don’t know what he’ll do with the 29K, but I’m sure it will be put to good use, in his wisdom.

A fool, his money, and so on. Tale as old as time.

Athywren
Athywren
7 years ago

Feminist harassment… evidence, or GTFO.
Same goes for the idea that FTSU Elam and the word “wisdom” have any business sharing a sentence.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Maybe we can steal an idea from Dan Savage and refer to explosive diarrhea as “elam” from now on.

Softwipes, for those days when you’ve got really bad elam!

Yup. The fundies just say I’m possessed. Much easier to deal with.

::rolls eyes:: Colour me surprised. I never had any run-ins with fundies of the usual stripe, but a couple of what I’d call Spiritualist fundies took much the same line.

I just left. There’s only so much you can do with someone who sees your very existence as a delusion that shouldn’t be entertained.

Makes me wonder,what does that say about her, talking to a delusion, eh?

Obviously we know it’s not true that the moon is made of blue cheese – it’s double gloucester.

Wallace and Gromit might dispute that.

LBT (with writeathon poll!)

RE: Woody

I don’t know what he’ll do with the 29K, but I’m sure it will be put to good use, in his wisdom.

Yeah, like lining his pockets.

StrivingAlly
7 years ago

Guh. MRA trolls playing Calvinball. All the fluffy gods preserve us.

“If you’re talking about us, you’re giving us publicity and we’re all you can think about! If you refuse to engage with us, you can’t find evidence to refute us and you secretly know we’re right! If our followers are accused of threatening/intimidating/harming women it must be slanderous lies, but don’t say mean things about us because FREEZE PEACH!”

It must be exhausting, having to constantly change the rules so you can maintain the smug delusion that you’re winning.

kittehserf
7 years ago

I wonder if Woody calls himself Woody because it’s quicker than writing “thicker than two short planks”? The stupid is strong in this one.

takshak
takshak
7 years ago

weirwoodtreehugger: reading for comprehension is *not* their strong suit.

LBT: So sorry you have to deal with people like that.

Phoenician in a time of Romans
Phoenician in a time of Romans
7 years ago

Even if that were so, who the fuck slaps around a fluffy unicorn baby?</i.

[Raises hand, shamefully]

brooked
brooked
7 years ago

Hi JudgyBitch, good to see a top ‘Honey Badger’ here. I see Dave’s intrepid band of followers have found out about MRA Island – damn! – and they’ve also guessed the internet connections there are unreliable, at best. AVfM will have to do another fundraiser to sort that out. At least they don’t know yet about the wife-beater stick production line at the Patriarchy factory on the island. I understand the sticks are manufactured to a thickness just 0.001″ less than the average man’s thumb, to avoid the obvious legal risks.

What do they say in defence? Satire? Parody? No. They say nothing, because they know the mainstream media will never hold them accountable for lying. I invite you to find even one lie I’ve stated on my five blogs, my three books, my numerous articles and countless blog posts and comments. If and when you do, I’ll retract it in a heartbeat, because MHRAs have integrity, while feminists don’t – they never have, they don’t now, and they never will.

After reading these posts, I’m going to defend Mike B. from the claims that he’s a below average troll, Yes, I’ll admit that his relentless pushing of stock MHRHAH talking points is boring and he’s bland as can be, but he’s a Grade A pretentious blowhard. How can you not enjoy his tortuously long and nearly incomprehensible failed attempt at humor? He took someone’s off-hand ‘MRA Island’ joke and really, uh, ran with it.

His fastidious and exaggerated pose as a man of intellectual and political importance that demands to be taken seriously is a classic example of comical affectation. It’s so comical I would assume it was a put-on, except I doubt anyone would this much effort into a joke.

Come on, he endlessly plugs what has to be the most poorly designed blog on WordPress and then claims that it’s only one of his FIVE blogs. He includes “countless blog posts and comments” in his illustrious body of work. That’s hilarious stuff people.

mildlymagnificent
7 years ago

One other thing about Mikey. If some sneaky person removed the word “challenge” from the dictionary he’d have to shut up forever. He seems not to own a thesaurus so he challenges here, he challenges there, he challenges everywhere … about nothing. The least he could do is find a few different words with the same meaning to give the world some interest … in betting on which word will be used for the next boring repetition of the same boring spiel.

Tigerbos
Tigerbos
7 years ago

Oh how cute. Woody totally believes everything Elam says. Yawn.

pecunium
7 years ago

woody: There is an utterly unfounded assumption being made that Paul has “scammed” his followers out of 29K. Not so. They required the money for extra security. Due to feminist harassment

Looks to me, from Elam’s comment, they had to move because he’s incompetent to run a convention.

Assuming, arguendo, that the reason they had to move was the reason given (the Doubletree didn’t have the room to host the attendees expected), then Elam failed to account for the level of interest.

Now, I’ve worked some large cons (approx 4,500 people), where we didn’t know what the at the door membership was gonna be (LAConII ended up with a total attendance of roughly 10,000. We were expecting more on the order of 7,500).

Arisia copes with this by capping the membership; so we don’t swamp our facilities (so we only have to use one hotel, etc. Membership is limited to 3,700). So, unless Elam, et al, had a sudden spike in memberships after this flap, they fucked up. They had more attendees than the facilities could manage, and they should have known.

With a working budget of 77,000USD they should have been able to afford to get the space (even in the height of wedding season). That they didn’t means they either didn’t look at their membership numbers, or they didn’t look at the venue space, and so failed to negotiate for the space they needed.

Even if that’s the case, it’s incredible to me (having done a one day event, just last month, which involved 150 people, with catering, and booze [which required bartenders], and three areas of function space, and two hotels; and car-pooling to arrange for people to get from their hotels to the event, and insurance) that they couldn’t find a space, closer to the hotel(s) their guests are going to be using (and what about the hotel(s), every event I’ve ever done, to include the one last month, has had preferential rates in room-blocks… didn’t they do that: are those rates now void for lack of using the function space at the DoubleTree?)?

They are telling us they have more than $100,000 to work with. The event I listed above cost less than $20,000, and that was with kosher catering (which is a lot more expensive than non-kosher), and staff.

So with a hundred grand he can’t find anything better than a place with a room no larger than the one he said was too small? He can’t find someplace close enough to not add to the costs of his attendees?

So yeah, I’m gonna say they are scamming you. That, or they are lying about the attendance.

House Mouse Queen
7 years ago

TY @AuntieAlias for letting me know about my pic being dropped on the thread. It was a temptation for them to continue to doc drop and it was done with the intimidation factor in mind.

Also. I have looked into the CEU’s and so far the main registration for CEU’s has no record of AVFM.

They are mental health CEU’s and they’re purchased pretty easily from many companies. I’ll keep looking to find out which company. It’s probably one they know.

I’m going to sign this Joyintorah18. I know some of you are cross members w/ AMR. This is a place were I am welcome.

kittehserf
7 years ago

House Mouse Queen, I know that nym from elsewhere – though now I don’t remember what blog I read it, here or elsewhere. 😳

brooked
brooked
7 years ago

I checked the link earlier and tickets are currently $259, but they may have been priced cheaper to reward early registration. That ticket doesn’t include a 50 person workshop with “the man who started it all”, Warren Farrell, which costs an extra $79-99, depending on when one registers.

As others have pointed out that’s very pricy for a two day conference in a suburban VFW hall and that’s ignoring the extra costs attendees incurred due the late venue change. They are pretty sketchy on details about the conference, they just list the twelve scheduled speakers which includes Elam and GWW.

strivingally
7 years ago

Hoping we can get some leaked pics of the half-empty hall if and when this joke of an event goes ahead. Y’know, to better understand the overwhelming popularity of their movement.

It’d also be instructive as a demonstration of intersectionality – ’cause I’d wager a tenner that anybody darker than beige is outnumbered 10:1.

breadandrosesblogger
7 years ago

Get working, minions! I called them WAYNE STATE CUNTS!

I think her shock value is wearing thin, folks. Don’t these people have anything besides the word “cunt” in their repertoire? C’mon, get more creative than that.

mildlymagnificent
7 years ago

Shock value? Much the same as the kindy kid who managed to get a rise out of grandma once last week when he brought home his newly acquired poo-bum-wee vocabulary. Still trying to shock mum, dad and everyone else days later despite being studiously ignored ever since, even by grandma.

Anenome
Anenome
7 years ago

Are tickets still on sale for the event?

pallygirl
pallygirl
7 years ago

Ticket questions are better addressed to AVfM. Or do they want us to run it for them now too?

Aha, that’s their end game. Of course their conference flopped because the ebil feminazis didn’t help.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
7 years ago

@House Mouse Queen

You’re welcome. They’re despicable. I’ll be interested to hear what you find out about the CEUs. It’s impossible to believe professional organizations would give credits for attending a hatefest.

@strivingally

Hoping we can get some leaked pics of the half-empty hall if and when this joke of an event goes ahead.

I know, right?

I really like the Muckraker writer Steve Neavling. He’s been interacting in the comments section and made it clear where his sympathies lie.

Teflon Expat
In conclusion, the feminists have to know who made the threats and prove it wasn’t one of their own. Then they can go out to the streets, scream from the rooftops and clear their name. This is paramount if they are to gain back some credibility. Please help them won’t you?

muckraker_steve Moderator
You want them to prove a negative? *facepalm*

He also said, “I talked to police today. None of those threats are substantiated. None.” And, “I’m getting the police report, and I have the certified letter. Again, just because threats were reported doesn’t mean the threats came from opponents. Surely you would want more evidence for drawing conclusions on anything else.”

When challenged on why the police would give him the information, he said, “Because I work for the media and police always give us that information. The point is this: Anyone could have called in those “threats.” It could have been MRA, could have been opponents. Fact is, you don’t know which is the case.”

dreamer
dreamer
7 years ago

Long time lurker here… just wanted to say that as an events organiser myself, we use an overflow room at our larger events (150+) because the delegates want an overflow room – it means they can get on with some work or whatever on their laptops while still listening to the presentations but not disturbing the speaker.

titianblue
titianblue
7 years ago

Teflon Expat
In conclusion, the feminists have to know who made the threats and prove it wasn’t one of their own. Then they can go out to the streets, scream from the rooftops and clear their name. This is paramount if they are to gain back some credibility. Please help them won’t you?

So Teflon Expat doesn’t care about false accusations, as long as they’re against feminists. And believes that anyone that helps the falsely accused to clear themselves is bad – as long as the falsely accused are feminists. Good to know he has such a high moral code.

Arctic Ape
Arctic Ape
7 years ago

Wait, you’re my sock? I thought I was your sock? I am so confuse…
Ourobosock?

You only wear Ourobosocks on a Causal Friday.

naira8
7 years ago

@emilygoddess

Sorry, I tried answering you last night but couldn’t figure out how to say what I wanted to without getting rambly.

Propaganda, as opposed to any other kind of information (because information it is), is about securing certain kinds of behavior, rather than informing. Goebbels, honestly, said it best: “We do not talk to say something, but to obtain a certain effect.” Propaganda is not to inform, but to control. Ellul centers this on the State as the source, but I think we can expand it beyond the nation-state and look at other group dynamics. But the group is necessary; propaganda is not me, as an individual, saying something to get any other individual to do something.

My paper compared the propaganda that Jacques Ellul writes about in “Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes” and that of right wing Hindu ideology (Hindutva) in India. Specifically, I looked at a newspaper that is printed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS–maybe known to some as an organization that Prime Minister Modi was in).

The main difference lies in the emphasis of in the different kinds of propaganda, rather than totally different forms. The issue is that Ellul looked at propaganda at the nation-state level (Germany, US, and Russia during WWII and Maoist China). The details of how you mobilize a small group, rather than a nation state are different. Further, the propaganda has to be targeted at arming the supporters/members against the counter-arguments when it is produced by a smaller group, because in the situations Ellul discussed, the nation-states had significant control of media outlets.

So, for example, Ellul looks at political propaganda versus sociological propaganda. The former is about spreading that political ideology that the propagana-source wants people to believe in. Sociological is about unifying behavior and integrating individuals into a behavioral whole. Hindutva is much more about the latter and its group structure is targeted towards this.

He also looked at rational vs irrational propaganda. At its heart, most propaganda is “irrational” in one way or another, but the rational type at least fulfills people’s need for information and justification. It is the kind of propaganda that explains WHY something is happening and WHAT it all means. It can be articulated, in short, so that if you ask someone who has been targeted, they can give a full explanation of why they are doing what they are doing. The irrational kind is a little harder to pin down; it produces a long-lasting impression that stays with a person long after the actual piece of propaganda is forgotten. This is the more emotionally satisfying kind.

Again, the latter is what I see as operating at small group levels to a much greater extent than in the nation-state examples that Ellul talks about. I think it is because the latter produces something that cannot be argued with, a type of faith or belief in the myth of the group that cannot be argued with, cannot be talked about rationally. In the case of the RSS, this is a deep-seated, unarticulable understanding of the Hindu-Muslim divide as antagonistic, aggressive on the part of Muslims, and natural. There is no need to justify fighting against Muslims, they *naturally* need to be fought, because the enmity between them and Hindus is innate to both religions and their adherents.

The MRAs are nowhere near as organized as the RSS, which is quasi-military in its flavor and organization. To that end, the action side of propaganda, creating a behavioral effect is reduced quite a bit. Not to mention, they don’t want to take responsibility for any actions that an MRA takes that might reflect badly on the group. When RSS workers are involved in riots and such, the RSS defends it as righteous and necessary for the defence of the Hindu nation and Hindu women.

But what I do see in Ellul’s analysis is a sociological/psychological look at the ways in which certain kinds of information and certain kinds of messages can create an effect well beyond the normal run of messages and information we run across. You could argue that a TV commerical is propaganda, in that it wants you to buy something/do something. But it lacks the group coherence that I think is necessary. Further, because small groups cannot stop their members from experiencing competing messages and counter arguments, there is something about their own propaganda that has to be much more deeply satisfying, on one level or another, that ensures adherence .

There is obviously a lot of self-selection; a person chooses to join the RSS or the MRAs, but their propaganda is also crafted to appeal to a certain kind of person to self-select in. The RSS, particularly in the leadership, has been mostly made up of Brahmans from Maharashtra and has a high caste/class membership, which suggests not just a religious dynamic, but a caste one too. (honestly, I think upper castes are increasingly afraid of Dalits).

So, I hope someone finds this all useful. During my Master’s, I developed an interest in right-wing Hindu rhetoric, political action, and how authority (believability) is established in these groups.